By John Brooks, Senior Consultant
What steps have you taken, post-pandemic, to ensure that those individuals who stepped up when you needed them most continue their increased support?
How does your organization get ready for the end-of-year giving season and encourage larger and more frequent contributions from your donors?
There are several things you can do, right now, to increase the odds of continued support with the potential for larger donations at year-end. The traditionally “slower” summer months provide an excellent opportunity to reach out, check in and see how your donors are doing.
- Invite your best donors (or those prospects that you’ve been cultivating) to your facility for a visit. This could include individuals, corporate sponsor contacts, volunteers, and foundation leaders. Introduce them to those you serve, your leadership, front-line staff, volunteers, and perhaps other donors. Show them where the work gets done!
- Or, if that’s not possible, ask if they have time for a cup of coffee or lunch with the executive director.
- You can ask if they have any questions about the impact that their support has had on the community.
- You can fill them in on how your organization is doing, what impact your organization has made since last summer and what challenges are in your organization’s future.
- It’s also a great time to check-in on how they are doing. What changes have taken place in their life like a new job, a new home, retirement, weddings, grandchildren, etc.
- How about a social gathering, “porch party,” or back-yard BBQ with one of your board members?
- This is not a fundraising event – no envelopes on the picnic table, no silent auction items, and no raise-the-paddle – just an opportunity to meet leadership, ask questions and socialize with food and drinks. Hey, it’s summer! Why not?
I spent my entire development career getting to know those who supported the agencies I represented. I didn’t ask for money every time we communicated. It was so much more than a transactional relationship. We really did get to know each other and discuss what changes we collectively wanted to bring about in society. Those conversations helped me learn so much about why partnering with my organization was so important to our donors and how we helped them bring about that change they so desperately wanted to see.
Summer is a fun time to reach out. Yes, many are on vacation but just as many aren’t and would welcome a “special” invitation for the opportunity to talk about how they want to change the world!
I’ve consistently preached to my staff that the golden rule of fundraising is that “ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DON’T ASK.” The worst anyone can say is “No.” And even if it’s a “no” this time, at least they’re aware that you’re thinking about them.
So, get out there and do it now! What’s the worst that can happen? You have more to lose by not asking and it very well may result in an increased gift this December!
Enjoy your summer!